Last week, out of nowhere, I decided that I had to have stuffed shells. I’ve been craving pasta and ricotta cheese a lot lately, but I have no idea why I figured that stuffed shells were the way to go. I had never made them before, and I’ve heard rumors that they’re notoriously hard to make. But, I made them anyway.
It turns out that they’re not that hard after all. In fact, I’d say I preferred making the stuffed shells to making a lasagna. There’s none of that messy layering process or worrying about the edges getting crunchy. I decided to throw some spinach to up the health factor since constantly eating pasta doesn’t really provide you with your necessary vitamins and nutrients. It also adds some sturdy texture to the soft ricotta, giving you something extra in each bite.
My trick for filling the shells with the cheese mixture? A cookie scoop. It made the filling process much more efficient, and less messy, according to my mom who was over for dinner and watched me fill them all.
After baking them for about 55 minutes, they’re ready to eat. I always serve stuff like this with some extra pasta sauce – if I have some – and grated pecorino romano cheese.
*Notes: I used about 3/4 of 1 box of “jumbo” stuffed shells, but the brand I used seemed to be a little smaller than average, more like a “large” shell. One box was still more than enough, but I would suggest cooking your entire box to make sure you have enough shells for your filling and to make up for any shells that get broken in the cooking process.
To prevent shells from sticking before you fill them, toss them with the smallest amount of oil to coat their surface.Print
- 1 12-ounce package jumbo pasta shells
- Olive oil
- 1 9-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
- 1 32-ounce container part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese (or parmesan)
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- 2 recipes quick & easy tomato basil marinara or 6 – 7 cups of your favorite pasta sauce
- Preheat oven to 350F (180C).
- Cook pasta shells according to package directions for al dente. Do not overcook. While pasta is cooking prepare the marinara sauce. Strain shells and rinse with cold water. Drizzle with olive oil to prevent pasta from sticking.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the spinach, ricotta cheese, pecorino romano cheese, egg, parsley, salt, pepper and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese.
- In a large baking dish, spoon a thin layer of marinara sauce. Fill each shell with the cheese mixture and place in the baking dish. Top shells with another layer of marinara sauce and remaining mozzarella cheese. Reserve any extra sauce for serving.
- Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for about 10 – 15 minutes, or until sauce is bubbling around the edges.
- Remove from the oven and allow shells to cool for about 5 minutes before serving.
- Calories: 0
- Sugar: 0 g
- Sodium: 0 mg
- Fat: 0 g
- Saturated Fat: 0 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 0 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 0 g
- Fiber: 0 g
- Protein: 0 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
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